Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity


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Provides an overview of abolitionism in North America with illustrations from manuscripts and pamphlets available through the Cornell University Special Collections. Contains chapters on Stanton and Anthony's early reform efforts, including temperance and abolition. Exhibition of a scrapbook created by Elizabeth Cady Stanton with later additions made by her daughter Harriet.

Also contains links to articles in reform newspapers, such as The North Star. This is a solid contribution and should be an essential read for anyone interested in ideas of citizenship and history. Permissions Information. Subsidiary Rights Information. Media Inquiries. Women's Studies.

13 susan zaeske signatures of citizenship petitioning

American Studies. In New York, some two thousand people met in a hotel to exercise their conjoined First Amendment rights of assembly, speech, and petition to denounce permitting slavery in new states and to compose a petition to Congress.

Further groundwork for mass antislavery petitioning was laid in when Benjamin Lundy organized a campaign in Baltimore that asked Congress to pass a law providing that all children thereafter born to slaves in the District of Columbia be declared free at a certain age. The House of Representatives tabled the petition, but Lundy was undeterred.

In , he launched a lecture tour through the North to encourage further antislavery petitioning. Lundy succeeded in encouraging a young newspaper reporter named William Lloyd Garrison to adopt the strategy of petitioning. In October , Garrison sent petition forms to Vermont postmasters, who paid nothing for their mail, requesting them to gather signatures and send the petitions to Congress.

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Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Women's Political Identity / Edition 1

Garrison and other opponents of slavery submitted enough petitions in to stir debate in Congress. Petitions for abolition in the District also flowed from citizens of Washington, D. Free blacks, such as those in Adams County, Pennsylvania, lent their names to petitions, and the free black press praised the signature-gathering efforts of the predominantly white antislavery societies. Many other antislavery societies formed in New England and the West during the early s incorporated pledges to petition in their founding documents.

Transnational migration, citizenship and the circulation of rights and responsibilities

Abolitionists adopted this strategy because although early in its history the right of petition was put into practice by individuals making requests of their rulers for redress of personal grievances, by the advent of the Jacksonian era, men frequently used organized mass petitioning to agitate public opinion in order to achieve their political goals.

Male abolitionist leaders endorsed the strategy of petitioning at the national level in December at the founding convention of the American Anti- Slavery Society.

Calls to petition issued by the AASS and other male abolitionist organizations at the beginning of the campaign were directed at men and made no attempt to encourage women to participate in the effort. Nonetheless, inspired by the success of English women who, from to sent hundreds of thousands of signatures to Parliament requesting an end to slavery in the British dominions, by growing numbers of American women signed antislavery petitions addressed to Congress.

In so doing they departed significantly from the custom of women limiting their petitioning to individual requests about private matters.

Signatures of Citizenship | Susan Zaeske | University of North Carolina Press

By petitioning collectively on an issue of national policy women also pushed the limits of antebellum gender norms, which usually constrained them from overt political action out of fear they would be branded unwomanly or immoral. Facing such obstacles, the petition offered women an especially suitable means to participate in the abolition movement because they could use the right of petition—a right that, unlike the ballot, they were generally understood to possess— to apply the force of their supposedly superior morality to reform public opinion on the subject of slavery.


  • Home - Women's Rights & Suffrage Movements - LibGuides at COM Library;
  • Petitioning, Antislavery, and Women's Political Identity.
  • Atmospheric Icing of Power Networks.

Furthermore, the supplicatory nature of the right of petition held radical potential for women, for natural law assumed that all subjects and later citizens possessed the right of petition and that rulers and later representatives were obliged to receive and respond to petitions regardless of the subject of their prayer. Abolitionist women relied on the first assumption to claim and defend their right to petition amidst an environment in which their political status, like that of free blacks, was undergoing constant renegotiation.

Women added fifteen thousand signatures to those sent by men in and , swelling to a flood what was previously a trickle of memorials.

Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity
Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity
Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity
Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity
Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity
Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity
Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity
Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womens Political Identity

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